Gratitude isn’t a natural state of mind for some people, and it can often be forgotten about when life has dealt someone hardship after hardship. Perhaps your parent is suffering from sadness or disappointment in life due to a health issue or the loss of a loved one. While it may seem hard to find things to be grateful for, science has shown that a regular attitude of gratitude can change the molecular structure of the brain, causing the person to be not only happier but also healthier.
Maybe your parent just needs some tools to help him find the things around him he can still celebrate and be grateful for. While those who care for him, like yourself, other family member and his home care provider, can give reminders of what he should be grateful for, having your parent discover on his own the joy in the world around him, even when times are hard, will lead the way the way to more peace and happiness in his world.
Give him a gratitude journal
Whether you buy a specific journal that’s made to record “blessings” or whether you just find your parent a blank journal or notebook to write in, give him an assignment to right in five things each day he is grateful for. Tell him it doesn’t have to be big things or miracle-type of things, it can be little things like sunshine, a good cup of coffee or even a day when his knees don’t hurt too badly. Help your parent discover when the best time for writing is and keep the journal (with a pen) near the place where he’ll see it every day. It might be by his bed, to write in before he goes to sleep each night or maybe it’s next to his chair where he sits and enjoys his morning coffee. If your parent is willing, have him share his blessings with you or his home care provider when she visits.
Give him a gratitude reminder bracelet
This doesn’t have to be a bracelet marketed to be a gratitude bracelet– any old bracelet will do. Ask your parent to wear it and whenever life is feeling stressful or depressing to touch it and look around him. Tell him to find three things within his sight that he is grateful for – his sweet cat laying in the sun, a tulip starting to bloom or those leftover cookies on the counter. It will take his mind off the pain and frustration he is feeling overwhelmed with, and redirect his focus on to the things that still bring him joy and pleasure. If a bracelet doesn’t work, look for another object that your parent will keep on himself that he can physically touch to remind him to redirect his thoughts.
Give him Thank you notecards
Ask your parent to fill out at least one thank–you card each week to send to people in his life that he appreciates. This can be a great way for him to reflect on the kindnesses shown to him throughout the years and connect with those people, even if it’s from decades in the past. Your home care provider can help him address and stamp the letters to make sure they get to the people your parent wants to express his gratitude toward.
Once your parent routinely starts expressing an attitude of gratitude, he’s most likely going to find that even in painful times, there are many delights to be enjoyed and shared in this world every day.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Buffalo Grove, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.
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